Sunday, May 29, 2011

Inner Peace

Nine months ago a group of my friends embarked on a journey toward self-discovery. Today while watching Kung Fu Panda II, it all came together. Happy Birthday to me! I love it when a movie that brings joy to my kids can speak to me. At the beginning of the movie Po is challenged to find inner peace. He never recieves the formal lesson from the Master but instead gets his education (on the job) in the field. Literally the lesson is learned while in battle. At a critical point in the movie, Po is forced to look into his past. He accepts the challenge and by looking past his vague memory the truth is revealed. His amazing discovery is that although his past was very difficult, owning it allowed him to wholeheartedly accept the beauty of his present.
It's a day after my 39th Birthday. I have spent the last nine months developing coping skills that would protect me as I owned my past to be free in the present. I love that by embracing my inadequacies, my fears and even my losses - God is glorified. Less of me and more of Him, is my secret to inner peace. Accepting the "Andrea" he created me to be. Exposing where the shame has kept me trapped, speaking it and moving beyond it is the best Birthday gift I have ever had.
Thank you to all my friends and family who have allowed me to ask hard questions, sit in my saddnes, and rejoice in my joy. Thank you for traveling with me over the past nine months. Thank you for your patience. Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me that when I am at the end of my resource rope... You are there to catch me... and your one desire is to get all the GLORY.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm not 40 yet!

Today I finally purchased health insurance. I have been dragging my feet forever... but today I filled out the applications and purchased health insurance for our family. It will only cover a catastrophic situation, but it is there and offers peace of mind. At the end of a 2 hour meeting with my insurance agent, the application was aproved but as "standard" not "preferred." Apparently the fact that I had not had a physical exam in more than 3 years puts us at higher risk. Upon review my agent said, well "you are 40." I experienced the warm flash of .... "Not yet." Then the sudden realization that: "I almost am." and Finaly the question: "DId I turn 40 and not realize it."

The agent and I worked out my age... which is not quite: 39 years old.

I came home, put on yoga pants and made a cup of coffee in my favorite elephant coffee mug (thanks Jen Lind). I have to admit that it is hard to admit .... "I am almost 40!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is it the "End of the World."

May 23, 2011
Did you hear the news? It was “prophesized” that the world was supposed to end this past Saturday. It was covered, rather mockingly, on most networks Friday and Saturday. The Doomsday watch was fodder for the late night shows last week, and it was mocked in many online communities and virtually all the social networks. I can’t deny it; I made fun of the absurdity, too. On Saturday night my status on Facebook read that I had evidently not been raptured! But really, this so-called prophecy was anything but funny. One of the biggest events of all time, the return of Jesus, was turned into a Comedy Central spoof.
False prophets; Jesus himself warns us about them! But how do we fight against such lies? How do we know truth when it’s disguised in a Biblical cloak?
Staying alert and being aware of what’s going on in the world are the first steps in combating false prophets. Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:15-16
So, what does Jesus mean when he says, “You will recognize them by their fruits”? I can only think that He means a person’s entire character—who they really are. Do they show righteousness, humility and faithfulness in the way they live? Is what they teach based entirely (and wholly) on God’s Word or is what they say a hodgepodge of Scripture and their own man-centered concoction of truth?
J.C Ryle wrote on this subject, “What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm. 119:105.) The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear. They would have us believe that ‘they are not learned, and do not pretend to have decided opinions.’ The plain truth is that they are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility.”
While we parents might seem reluctant to share with our younger children the ugly truth that there are people in this world who choose to twist and turn God’s Word around for personal gain, I can think of nothing more important than giving them the foundation which will help them discern truth from lies—and that comes from teaching them God’s Word.
Ephesians 6:10-18 teaches us about the Armor of God. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. As stated above, in Psalms the Word of God is as light, giving wisdom and understanding. In Isaiah the Word of God is like water, rain which gives life to a parched earth. Jeremiah refers to God’s Word as fire, that burned his soul until he could hold it no longer. Jesus refers to the Word as seed planted in the human heart, which grows, bearing fruit of faith.
I want to teach my kids that when they build their lives on God’s Word, then they live a life of genuine freedom, happiness, joy and purpose. Deception will always out there, but the truth of the Word will be a firm foundation on which they can stand.
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Written By: Lisa
Found at: What's in the

I always wanted a white picket fence

I am in the last week of my Ordinary Courage Class. Today the instructor Brene Brown answered questions about shame resilence and boundaries. Funny, since I am also wrapping up a 9 month journey with a small group of friends through the book Boundaries. Today during my class Brene said: "boundaries are vulnerable." I was very surprised by that statement. Since part of me thought that by developing good boundaries I would be more protected. Brene went on to explain that having good boundaries is 1) asking for what you need, 2) saying what you feel and 3) believing you are worthy of receiving both of those things. WOW! She also explained shame resilience as understanding what shame is and not betraying your authentic self while traveling through it.

So, here is my synopsis. Boundaries are like a picket fence. They provide space between me and my environment. I can see the outside and the outside can see me. There is a gate on my fence, and I can open it up and close it as I want and need to. When I feel ashamed I can close the gate. Move away from the person injuring me and use my coping skills until I find a safe space to process. Success is when I do not yell, or shut down but rather ask for what I need. Take the space to process my feelings and then respond.

I loved Brene's coping skills: 1) Do nothing. 2) Say nothing (don't talk, don't text, don't email) until you are calm. 3) Find a quiet space (car, bathroom stall, home) and breathe, pray wait until you are ready to respond without betraying your authentic self.

When I was a little girl I dreamed of marrying the guy from the LLBean catalogue. My New England experience told me that those guys, had money, worked hard, carried in the fire wood, drove BMW's, etc. I believed "arriving" would include a house with a white picket fence, a driveway with a Honda Odyssey and a man who wore suits to work. Funny, now I realize that the best picket fence is the one I'm building around my heart and life - to let the good in and keep the bad out. These steps are empowering and exciting. They also seem a bit lofty... God grant me the courage to change what I can!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I want to live in the LIGHT!

"But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away." - 1 John 1:7

Last night my husband and I watched Vince Vaughn in The Dilemma. It started off funny. And then took a turn in the middle. I found myself squirming and covering my face with the bed sheets. Vince catches his best friend's wife fooling around. His dilemma is whether or not to tell his friend. There are many other complicating factors. His unpredictable behavior led his loved ones to assume he was struggling with gambling again and a maddening downward spiral ensued. For half the movie I had knots in my stomach and I kept saying, out loud: "Just tell the truth." I felt bad for his girlfriend, because she assumed the worse. When one person is hiding the truth, a dark shadow is caste over all of us.

This morning I woke up and read our kids their devotions before school. The verse above really struck me. The devotion by Sara Young read: "Give it to Me, all of it. Tell me your sins and hand over that backpack. I want to dump out all the heavy rocks. Then I want to fill your backpack up again with love, mercy, forgiveness, joy and peace. Instead of weighing you down, these will lift you up and make your journey easier."

Every day that Vince Vaughn walked around with his "secret" his backpack got heavier. Each lie separated him from his loved ones. This reality has challenged me to empty my backpack, tell the truth as soon as I can, share with others the insights I have into my actions and reactions. Jesus beckons us to unload our backpacks and pick up peace... which is not heavy... instead is light and brings life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Don't Think I'm Crazy

I've been plodding through the class with Brene Brown on shame. The process has been liberating and overwhelming. Just yesterday I had the first experience where the classroom material and my real life collided. It was a typical Tuesday morning. Tuesday is the first day of my work week, so I have extra e-mails (56 new inbox messages) and phone call messages (5). After a quick dog walk I sat down to work. For some reason... Lily wouldn't settle down, so I had the pleasure of taking shoes, jackets and Thomas the Tank Engine train tracks away from her between phone calls. As I shared in my last blog. Returning phone calls is a huge "move away from". But I did it. By 11 a.m. I had answered all my phone messages. I had read and responded to most of my email. Now, I was ready to work. My husband Perry finished up a meeting and we decided to take a dog walk, before the next work block.
While we were walking, I began to talk about a work project that I couldn't wrap my head around. Perry had asked me to work with a new volunteer and I admitted that the man (a high powered Ad Executive) intimidated me, especially since I had very little vision for the project. All I could feel was the advertisement deadline this Friday. In the course of the conversation we went from sharing, to venting to arguing. Looking back I'm not sure how it progressed. But it did, and by the time we got home from our "de-stressing" walk I was a bundle of nerves and tears. We discovered that we both held the other one responsible for the project and felt forced into it. Perry left in a hurry for his next meeting. I sat at the kitchen table in a pile of tears, no closer to completing the project. In moments my four year old, Jael climbed on my lap and began to envelope me with her body. She kept saying: "Don't be sad Mommy." I couldn't stop crying and therefore did not respond to her request.
Later in the day, I listened to my class podcast. it was about our nuero-biological response to shame. Our bodies actually go into a "fight" or "flight" response when we are shamed. As I listened to the lecture I realized that I had felt shame earlier. The funny thing is that I wasn't shamed by Perry, or by Jael or by myself. I had felt ashamed to contact the Ad Executive. I felt intimidated and dumb when it came to writing an advertisement and I was afraid to feel stupid when I spoke to him. My babbling on our walk was an attempt to put words to what I felt. The babbling had kicked Perry into a "fix it" mode and we had ended up in conflict, divided: him frustrated and me in tears.
Later last night on our last dog walk of the night, we processed the days events. I was able to own my stuff and he was able to own him. We both realized how much pressure we were under to produce and we marvelled at how quickly we had been divided. This was one of those times when I realized how precious relationships are and how much work it is to communicate clearly. So often the thing we are upset about is buried underneath a heap of conversation, encounters and experiences.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just Say NO to Gardening

I recently read an article in Good Housekeeping about ... "taking time to have fun." I highly recommend checking out Gretchan's thoughts at: One particular quote caught me: "Just because something is fun for other people doesn't mean that its fun for you - and vice versa." Sometimes it is easier for me to identify what I don't like rather than what I like. For instance, I don't like to garden. It is liberating to write that down. I don't like putting away laundry. I don't like listening to messages and returning phone calls. My husband Perry challenged me to re-work my perspective on life. He suggested that I "move toward" rather than "move away from." So in an effort to move toward making time for fun. I like to read magazines. I like to walk the dog. I like to journal, blog and write. I like to laugh. I like to watch fun movies. I like to hang out with my family. I like to pray.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dare to Make Mistakes

I just read a great quote my Maria Shriver and thought you all might be enriched by it. "...don't be afraid, 'Anxiety is a glimpse of your own daring.'. It means that part of your agitation is just excitement about what you're getting ready to accomplish."

Monday, May 9, 2011

39 to 39: A Daunting Task

This morning I mentioned to my husband that I missed blogging yesterday. My mental excuse was: "It was Mother's Day. My day! I just wanted to enjoy." But it was Perry's response that opened me to be more honest. He said: "Blogging every day was a very daunting goal." Hmmm. Perry's empathy was amazing. He didn't guilt, shame or even relate with me. He simply acknowledged the enormity of the task. His empathy gave me permission to "be." And it gave me the courage to say.... "I'm not blogging every day and I'm releasing myself from the goal." The goal hasn't been fitting into my real life... so I'm letting it go.

I want to get better at empathy, for my sake, the sake of my family and my friends. Empathy, as defined by Brene Brown, is the skill or ability to tap into our own experiences in order to connect with an experience someone is relating to us.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

39 to 39: The magic of a Barbie Bike

A few weeks ago our family decided to bike together this summer. It was a bold declaration, especially since only one member of our family of five had a bike that currently worked. Over the past month we have been bike shopping. Looking at styles, models, and what would best fit each of our biking needs. At the first stop my 4 year old daughter, Jael spotted a Barbie Bike. She instantly fell in love. My husband and I aren't big on "character" purchases so we dismissed the wish.

After five stores and lots of window shopping Jael never waivered on her choice: a pink Barbie bike with ribbons on the handle bars and a Barbie messenger bag attached to the front.

We kept stalling on our purchase. It was in part to the rainy, dreary spring we were having. And in part just the cost of purchasing 4 bikes. But, just last week someone offered my son a near new bike that was just his size. With that gift, I had a chat with Perry. Realizing that Jael was our youngest and that the desire for a pink Barbie bike was unlikely in the coming years I asked if we could splurge and buy it. Of course he said YES! (I'm the tight wad).

Jael and I went to the store. She rode the bike and it was love. I asked her to try a princess bike just to be sure. She got off and on and said: "Mom this one just doesn't feel right." Jael rode the Barbie bike right out of the store. Later, at home while I was cutting off the tags Jael hugged me around the neck and said: "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Mommy."

Barbie Bike: $66.00
Appreciation from my 4 year old: Priceless

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

39 to 39: Haircut

Yesterday morning my son Will noticed his Dad, Perry reading my blog. He said, and I quote: "I am so embarrassed that Mom posted that picture." He said it with a knowing smile. Will's haircut ended up being a Mom/Son compromise. We had the back and sides short, #2 razor and he got to keep some length on the top. We had a discussion about taming his curls. I suggested that if he wants to keep it longer he has to learn to style it. Funny conversation to have with my son. He told me he knew how to use gel and that I didn't need to teach him. When asked the last time he used gel, he said: "Kindergarden." We all laughed! That was 6 years ago.

How time goes by! When Will was three years old my role as a Mom consisted of the following pattern. We got up, ate breakfast, played Thomas trains, watched a Thomas movie, ate lunch, took a nap, played Thomas trains, watched a Thomas movie while I made dinner, took a bath and went to bed. Every morning I woke up knowing exactly what to expect. Life has changed a lot since those toddler years. I have changed a lot since Will was a toddler. And Jael, my 4 year old has had a very different growing up experience entirely.

All three of my kids are unique. Each child has grown up in a different "home." Perry and my marriage has changed and grown over the years. I have changed and grown over the years. Nothing stays the same. I have glimmers of nostalgia when I look at my 4 foot, 5 inch almost middle school aged son but then I relish the moments we have right now. The wonderful, interesting, thought provoked young man who I get to do life with now.

It is a great honor to be a mother! It is a great gift to be a mother to these 3 kids.

Monday, May 2, 2011

39 to 39: It's just hair

#1 rule of parenting: pick your battles. Today I verbally sparred with my 11 year old son about getting a haircut. We tricked him into stopping at Great Clips. In fact when Perry drove to the door... Will began moaning... Nooooo! Once inside the shop he began to bargain. "How about I keep the top long."
Or "How about they trim my bangs, so the rest stays long.". Even the threat that Will resembled Justin Beiber didn't work.

So we sit here... Waiting, while I'm wondering if this was the battle to choose.

Here we go... The public battle... Will Will win her over or will Mom get her wishes? The result remains to be seen!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

39 to 39: Soccer Mom!

My whole life all I wanted to be was a Mom. The process of becoming a Mom has been an interesting metamorphisis of self. Yesterday was one of those days. A day when everything I thought I would love about parenting... wasn't so fun. Isabelle had a 10:10 a.m. soccer game. This spring soccer session has been very cold, snowy and rainy. It has not been fun at all. Yesterday was no exception. When the game started it was just cold. I found myself swept into the game. Screaming directions and compliments at Isabelle. Perry followed her up an down the field giving her pointers. By the end of the first quarter it had begun to drizzle. The rain was light but bearable. At the half it was really raining. And by 3rd quarter it was pouring. When the wind picked up I cold feel the rain drops move through my three layers: coat, sweatshirt, shirt and penetrating my skin. The rain felt like icy cold daggers. The game was being officiated by teenagers. I stood there praying that they would call the game. They did not. I shivered and cheered in time to the pelting rain. I was so distracted by discomfort I don't even know who won.

On the way home, we laughed and chalked it all up to a great memory.

Once at home, we hit the showers to thaw. After warming up and putting warm dry clothes on I said to Perry: "I'm a terrible soccer mom." To which Perry quickly replied: "You are a great soccer mom. You stood in the rain and watched your daughter play."

Yesterday I learned that being a soccer mom isn't a title or a club membership. Being a soccer mom is just that "being" a soccer mom. I don't have to enjoy it all, I just get to do it!